23 December. I am grateful for an african christmas. A tree that links so many of us, and for one seriously talented sister in law.
12 October. I am grateful for unusual mom and daughter bonding moments. Me waxing and plucking Kate, in the usual areas that need attention, brings much hilarity and genuine appreciation from my teenager. I was taken aback by her commenting how lucky she is I do it. It seems not all mums do. I just wish it wasn’t always last minute. Then again, she is my daughter.
I am trying not to be self absorbed. Surrounded by all the beauty here we all do pale by comparison. But I have become obsessed with my face. The bugger with beautiful photography is you can’t escape yourself. The reality of you. And especially with B. Always with a camera, a lingering loving camera. Not so much. I look, and try as I might to focus on the entire shot, my gaze finally settles on me and how I look. Everyone does it, and lies if they say they don’t. And then invariably never mind how gorgeous the view is if we look crap, the shot is deleted. I see it with my girls too. A gorgeous pic of Queenstown, but the first thing they look at is themselves. Okay, I admit, it is more a girl thing but still. I so wish I could lead by example but oh my word, my face has suddenly collapsed. It feels like it happened the past month. I have become completely obsessed by it. By the lines and furrows down the side of my mouth. Those ones that make you look like a puppet. I’m suddenly a little bit less dismissive of major intervention. Growing old gracefully, accepting the beauty of age and wisdom and experience etched in deep grooves on your face? Sounds wonderful and noble and true and no doubt I will get there because ultimately I do believe it. But right now there is nothing beautiful about seeing my granny’s mouth on my face. Especially when I feel twenty nine. Max. Shit. So, whilst surrounded by heaven, I have become a little obsessed by my face. Damn photography. I was loving the illusion. Less so Kate and Jem tickling my wattle. Very funny girls. Leave mom alone, she’s having a moment.
We were discussing the mid life crisis thing yesterday. And the scary obsession with youth. It is interesting how very few of us escape it. Whether it is that nagging feeling and fear of being anonymous. That slight irritation when only old men glance in your direction these days. Whether it’s the need for the ongoing botox and fillers to try and recapture what was. And the sadness at realising you can’t. Whether its that panic feeling in the middle of the night as you wonder is this it. Or that even more panicked feeling when you see your slightly saggier face looking back at you in the mirror as you wonder, is it too late for me? Is it over? Is it too late to follow my dream? Do I have a dream? Everyone in some way starts to wonder and question and too often regret. Sadly on a physical front earlier and earlier. I am surrounded by exquisite younger women who inject themselves with all sorts of things to try and make themselves look as beautiful as they once did. To me they are even more beautiful today. And all they are doing is losing the expression of themselves. I so understand the fear of ageing, especially it’s toll on our bodies. And on our sense of self worth. And the middle aged are generally ignored by all. So we can become slightly desperate.The middle aged. Shit, how funny is that. I am middle aged. Actually ten years older but the anonymity thing remains. I am filled with questions and wonder and sadness and yes regret but I genuinely find a little more acceptance of myself and a little more appreciation of my wisdom and a stronger sense of self. I love knowing that I have so much more to offer, because of my path, which has led me to here, lined and all. I love being me, saggy bits and all. I want all my friends just to realise how beautiful they are, how lucky they are, how lovely it is to be able to read the expression on their faces, to see them. And how much they have to offer that goes far beyond the physical. How just being them is enough. There is no crisis unless we make it one.
25 August. Travelling along the roads en route to Blackbutt I was once again taken aback by how beautiful and varied from gentle to lush to beautifully arid the Australian landscape is. B and I were commenting on how Australia was never on our radar. Not ever. And here we are on a saturday afternoon hurtling along some road miles from nowhere with one of our daughters ensconced with friends she would never have known in the middle of god knows where growing and being. Today I am grateful for the unexpected gifts and paths life gives us. And for the courage to take them.
This morning as Jem was about to take a shot of our favourite pelican (we are convinced its the same one that comes back to our favourite spot and nothing anyone says will convince us otherwise) a beautiful black labrador frolicking in the river barked with sheer enjoyment and the pelican took off as if shot. The fright Jem got and the laughter that followed was just priceless. I am grateful for this moment of silly spontaneous hilarity.
I am grateful B remembered it was our anniversary today before I did. I suspect I would have been less than gracious had it been the other way around. I am also grateful for the fortuitous timing of his return. Despite me forgetting (momentarily(!)) the day we got married 18 years ago, I suspect I would have been less than gracious had he not been home to celebrate. I am especially grateful for the magnificent day we were blessed with today. It has been a very good day.